Should Marshawn Lynch have to speak to the media?
Some, like Michael Schottey of Bleacher Report, say that the players have a responsibility to give "meaningful access" to the media, who depend on that access to feed their families and serve as the conduit between the players and fans.
Lynch has been clear about his intentions. He's not in New York to talk, and he has very little to say. He's there to play in a football game and do whatever it takes to help his team win. It's that simple. In his own words: Talk doesn't win football games, and he's all about that action, boss.
It's interesting. Whenever a player says too much, like Richard Sherman did following the NFC Championship Game, the media pounces and attacks. They called Sherman a thug, they said that he intimidated Erin Andrews, lacked class, and was a poor sport.
Now, when Lynch doesn't say enough, they're criticizing him too, for threatening to take food off their families' plates.
There are several obvious problems with this logic.
Lynch's refusal to speak for the full hour on Media Day hasn't prevented the media from doing their job. Not even slightly. There have been more stories and columns written about Lynch NOT talking than there have been about any other individual storyline this week. If anything, Lynch is making it easier for reporters to do their job, since he's actually giving them something to talk about.
When they had the chance to ask him questions, they didn't ask anything meaningful anyway. Lynch wasn't a complete no-show. He was there, and he answered a few questions. But what were the questions? All they wanted to ask about was why Lynch wasn't talking to reporters. Instead of trying to get him to open up by talking about something that might interest him and get him to divulge more details, they wanted to talk about why he didn't want to talk to him. I can't think of a less professional way to go about it, to be honest.
There are 105 other players on the Seahawks and Broncos who are willing to talk. Talk to Wes Welker, Richard Sherman, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Demaryius Thomas, or any of the other countless number of players who are more than willing to talk to the media. Lots of these guys have fascinating stories that they're just waiting to tell, and they're happy to talk to the media. I'm sure there were several players whose podiums were almost empty during Media Day, and there were plenty of stories that the media collectively missed due to their hard-on for Lynch and his unwillingness to talk.
It was clear that Lynch was uncomfortable talking at Media Day, and also at the mandatory press conference the following day. His fullback, Michael Robinson, tried to help deflect attention from him in a pretty awesome way, but to no avail.
It's time to stop being lazy. Stop being entitled. Stop pretending that the players owe something to the media, when in reality sports media wouldn't exist at all if it weren't for the players and their ability to pique the interest of the viewing public.
Ask Marshawn Lynch's friends and family about him. Ask his coaches, former and current. Ask his teammates. If there's a story there, you'll find it. But if he doesn't want to talk, that's his right. The NFL says he met his obligation, and there's really nothing else to it.